Disappointing, but not surprising. In what’s been called a thinly veiled rebuke of physician media star Mehmet Oz, MD, delegates at this month’s meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) supported resolutions that endeavor to hold physicians responsible for advice they dispense via the media.
One of the resolutions, sponsored by residents and medical students, including third-year med student Benjamin Mazer, calls for the AMA to develop ways to discipline “wayward” (their word, not mine) physicians. It also, according to Medscape, “directs the AMA to go on record denouncing the spread of dubious information” and “affirming the need for physicians in the media to adhere to evidence-based medicine.”
According to an interview with Vox, the AMA will develop guidelines explaining the “disciplinary pathways that people can use if they see a doctor promoting something that seems dubious on air or in the press. ‘This could include legal proceedings, or state medical boards that control a doctor’s license,’” explained Mazer.
The original proposal specifically mentioned The Dr. Oz Show, under fire for allegedly offering non-scientific advice to its audience, but by removing the reference the proposition could be broadened to go after any physician who publicly doesn’t tow the AMA party line. Although no names are mentioned, this AMA proposal could potentially encourage state medical boards to scrutinize such prominent physicians as Andrew Weil, Mark Hyman, Deepak Chopra, Joseph Mercola, Christiane Northrup, and David Perlmutter as well as doctors treating allegedly controversial diagnoses including chronic Lyme disease, candida overgrowth syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivities, and leaky gut.
The AMA stance appears to be moving toward this idea: If we didn’t learn about it during medical training, it doesn’t exist. If we don’t know it, and you say you do, you’re a quack.
To refresh your memory about Dr. Oz, though he’s been referred to as a health guru, that’s a stretch and he’d likely agree. He’s highly visible, but the Dalai Lama he’s not. In fact, he’s just one of a relatively small group of nutritionally oriented physicians who, through electronic and print media, have educated the public about another side of health care.
The undeniably narrow and limited medical education your conventionally trained physician experiences includes nothing on nutritional medicine or alternative therapies. And yet conventional doctors everywhere are also taught that there’s only one system that works and that you should be protected from most everything else.
Whether you were a homeopath or herbalist in the 19th century, a chiropractor or osteopath at the dawn of the 20th, or an integrative, holistic/functional physician in the 21st, the conventional medicine stance has been, and will likely remain, that their way is the right way. Anything else is fraud and any physician spreading misinformation deserves punishment.
The naiveté of AMA group-think is appalling
Keep in mind the bright boys and girls entering medical school got there not only by being smart, but also obedient. Don’t make waves. Don’t think outside the box and never, ever, challenge the status quo.
Mazer declared “The public is only going to trust us if we call out doctors who are harming others.”
Well, he’s young. I figure it will take him a few years to learn that the products of Big Pharma are vastly more dangerous than nutritional supplements and that chiropractic and acupuncture are safer and usually more effective than spine surgery. Dr Oz’s treatments, says Mazer, sipping the AMA Kool-Aid, aren’t necessarily harmful in and of themselves, but they distract patients from “proven medications.”
I see a bright future for young Ben as he kisses and claws his way into the upper echelons of the US healthcare system.
A tempest in the Oz-pot
This year’s flurry of concern in part had to do with Dr Oz’s perfectly reasonable statements about GMO labeling. He simply asked the food industry to inform the public of their presence. Label the food and let the buyer decide. This is already being done in many countries—why not here?
In a letter calling for his resignation, four of ten Columbia University signers were past or present officers of the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), an industry-funded organization that opposes mandatory GMO labeling, citing lack of a proven threat, adding that “labeling would confuse the public.” Despite its righteous-sounding name, the ACSH is a seriously shady organization, apparently “supporting” whoever sends them the largest check.
ACSH also supports fracking and the widespread use of herbicides. The ACSH has defended asbestos, DDT, and Agent Orange and has labeled environmentalists and consumer groups terrorists. Ralph Nader calls ACSH “a consumer front organization for its business backers.” Is there no limit to what money can buy?
Youth discouraging dissent
It pains me to report that the intense AMA policy deliberations were ignited by a youth movement in organized medicine. Mazer himself runs a blog dedicated to exposing “quacks in the media,” urging physicians and patients alike to report alternative medicine “misinformation” and “misdeeds.”
Since this reported information is essentially hearsay, Mazer apparently misses the irony that the research standards he expects from alternative medicine (peer reviewed, evidence-based) are much more demanding than the gossipy “facts” he’s collecting on his blog. However, he’s young and ambitious and he probably loves the very limelight that Dr. Oz currently enjoys.
You might want to know that the two AMA resolutions passed by an overwhelming voice vote. No, AMA Youth didn’t shout “Sieg heil,” but any loud voice votes that suppress dissenters bring to mind chilling scenes from 1935’s “Triumph of the Will,” the go-to film of the Third Reich.
Hitler Youth were big on unanimous voice votes too. Dissent was discouraged.
David Edelberg, MD
25 thoughts on “Young Docs Vote To Suppress Alternative Medicine Info”
Thanks Dr.E for speaking out against this craziness! I have read many times that new research takes 10 years to filter down to medical school, and in my experience that seems to fit! Sure, ‘conventional’ medicine def. has a place in this system,but it only has to look e.g at the ghastly health stats of this country , the thousands of unnecessary tests,the nearly half million lives lost each year to medical error,and the huge price we pay for it to honestly question if things are really working that well? I fail to see how Drs coming out of med school can possible hope to be of best service to their patients when they know virtually nothing about nutrition/healthy lifestyles / time-tested ‘alternative’ treatment modalities, and how these work together with the body’s own healing system.?How can the body best recover from surgery /injury or worse chemo/radiation, when education on diet/exercise/ other ‘natural therapies’ and supplements are either ignore/just pushed aside, or worse outright criticized?In my humble opinion this current system invariably treats only symptoms and lab results .This just keeps people sick /going back to the Dr.and/or on multiple drugs which dramatically reduces their quality of life. That’s my experience sadly of 30yrs of the US ‘health’ care system.:-( Thank goodness for places like WHC!
Not to scare anyone, but I have been alarmed by the fact that about five alternative doctors have been murdered recently. Two were in Florida and I forget about the rest. One was a very high profile doctor. I hope this isn’t the result of anger against those who do not follow the “party line” med school protocols to the letter and offer some less damaging natural alternatives.
I was interested in your remark about Dr. Oz and anti-aging skin care products. The very first article I opened after Googling “Dr Oz Skin Care” in which he gives perfectly good advice and interestingly isn’t selling anything. He tells the reader what kind of products to look for, how to use them and how to save $$. Should his license be threatened for doing this? Of course not.On the other hand, when I click to the numerous “physician only” sites, there’s one pop-up after another hawking a new wonder drug for me to prescribe. A new sleeping pill is available at $5 a tablet that’s not at all different from an older one selling for about 30 cents a tablet. Yet the AMA wants us both to put more faith in drug ads than someone thinking out of the box.
Always remember the first and foremost the AMA is a union with a goal to protect its physician-members first. Just like union plumbers who don’t want your pipe fixed by non-union plumbers, the AMA does not want you to even consider “alternative” medicine
This is an interesting comment about the AMA as a union. It is a good thing that unions desire to protect their members…..from wrong doing by greedy employers. But at issue here is the fact the doctors should be advocating for and protecting their patients, not be part of the greed train our healthcare system has become. I have been a member and officer of a nursing union…the National Nurses United (NNU) until I retired this year. The number one priority for this union is the advocacy and protection of our patients even while under the duress and bullying of greedy healthcare employers. Sure, this union fights for working conditions that promote health for their members, but their number one priority is for our patients’ health and well-being. The AMA, as an association, needs to get off the greed train and start advocating for those that cannot afford “the best healthcare in the world”. There are other safe, knowledgeable, and viable choices available. This web-site is one of them.
thank you, Kathryn. I also am a Nurse, having been an Advanced Practice Nurse for several years before I semi-retired. I am so in agreement with you. This is why I take exception to Dr. Oz’ big sells such as ‘Look Twenty Years Younger in Two Weeks’ as seen on the front cover of a Good Housekeeping magazine in the past. I find it hard to see this as client advocacy but rather a money grab at the public’s expense on so many levels.
Get on Oprah before December when Harp studios moves to LA. She’s in Chicago now as are many of your success stories. It would be nice to see real examples of chronic illnesses solved with medicine integrated with tangible hope. Perhaps you could help inspire more of an awakening among a much wider audience. I’m sure Oprah could appreciate this cause. Food for thought Dr E.
Get on Oprah.
I have to keep reminding myself that these disappointing doctors are the same types as the pre-meds I knew in college. I wasn’t impressed with their potential to become ethical, humane, and thinking physicians then, so I guess I shouldn’t expect more of many of them that did manage to make it to med school.
As for “evidence-based” medicine, not only is much of the literature junkscience, but most physicians ignore what actual science is to be found in the literature. Having worked in a true evidence-based field, most doctors are “johnny-come-latelies” to the notion of evidence-based and most don’t really understand it. Instead they are cookbook doctors, who just follow a cookie-cutter protocol or algorhythm, not true thinking clinicians, who understand and use the biological principles underlying health and disease.
Let’s see, I just got done rinsing the day’s vegetables three times, trying to get the pesticides and herbicides off. And now, this news! Great write-up, as always…thank you Dr. E for keeping us well-informed, which at least takes some of the fear out the equation. And oh, if we could just turn back the clock a zillion years — and take money, ego, and politics out of the equation too…just dreamin’ here.
Yet more reason we must take charge of our own health care and do our own research (and be thankful for Dr. E!). The AMA seems too much about the bottom line, and too tied to the big bucks of big pharma. Natural remedies and supplements are discounted because they won’t bring the big bucks that drugs will. It all demonstrates the problem with a for-profit health care system. Things that work better and cost less are dismissed because they won’t bring a profit.
It’s great to see all the comments here; clearly this is a subject of interest, especially to Dr. E’s audience. Thanks for another great health tip.
How can some physicians & the AMA be so narrow minded?Some common sense is required in all walks of life.
I have an extremely painful condition that was not diagnosed until I saw at least 5 doctors (I lost count). When I demanded an explanation, the response was “If we don’t see this during our residency, we don’t know about it.” Really? This, even though I saw a specialists in the correct field. My point is that some doctors won’t even consult their own literature; that’s just lazy. Also, my autoimmune conditions have made me very sensitive to some foods, and not one doctor has ever suggested any kind of nutritional counseling, except for Dr. Edelberg. I’m so tired of the “evidence-based” jargon and the superior attitude. Some things haven’t been researched yet. Some treatments (massage therapy) may not cure a condition, but can certainly alleviate symptoms, which is not good enough for the strict science thinkers. Well, ask someone who’s in pain. I have nothing against science, but we have a serious problem with a strict reliance on research, most of which is funded by drug companies. And to the commenter about Dr. Oz and wrinkle cream, if there’s retin A in that cream, it’s proven. I have a strong statement to doctors who refuse to consider any kind of alternative treatment for many of us–given that the drugs you prescribe often don’t work or have dangerous side effects, your refusal to consider safe treatments for comfort and pain alleviation leave us in a life of pain. Of course, we could pay for these treatments out of pocket, but for chronic conditions, that’s a lifetime of expenses, and we will run out of money…and still have the pain.
As for the MDs you cite, though: Andrew Weil, Mark Hyman, Deepak Chopra, Joseph Mercola, Christiane Northrup, and David Perlmutter.
I’d like to see most of them dragged out and held up to scrutiny. Andrew Weil, in particular. Not so much, Chopra.
Northrup has gone absolutely off the beam in recent years, and I say this as a charter subscriber to her newsletter 20 years ago. Have you read her recently? She is making wild conjectures about the psychogenic origins of various female maladies. It’s harmful, because it keeps people from seeking real solutions.
Weil is a charlatan extraordinaire. And a hypocrite. He railed against psychotropic medication for depression for years (ADHD, too), until HE reocgnized he as depressed. So SSRIs are okay for him, but not for the other people, who should be buying his array of potions and homilies…. Pffft.
Mercola? Sure, him, too. He goes wildly off the reservation.
Most of these folks aren’t “integrative” – they are “into wealth. Their own.
Excellent and informative article. Thank you.
Thank you, Dr. Edelberg!
I feel like the long voice in the wilderness, defending Dr. Oz.
On a Medscape article on the topic, there are the flippant “snake oil! off with his head!” comments. Then there are the wiser healthcare professionals, who know full well that even “evidence-based” and “science-based” medicine can be full of holes and half-truths.
This Mazer dude is scary, though.
I’m starting to think that medical schools now select for people high on the autistic spectrum, one that are good with the “systems” memorization of parts and procedures——but not so good with the actual practice of medicine, the synthesizing of science, human, habits, etc.
Asperger’s Syndrome is also associated with having a sense of “justice” and “cause celebre.”
If the autistic-savant MDs win, we’re all even worse off than we already are with mainstream, cookie-cutter medicine.
The AMA and physicians are “afraid of losing their money” and are threatened by something they have NO IDEA about. They are plainly jealous as well. Alternative health care offers ANSWERS. Those physicians just want to push pill after pill and have NO IDEA about the ramifications about the side effects, etc. They do not want us well. Ever notice how they keep having you come back and not getting solutions. They offer temporary relief which only leads to other health concerns due to side effects. For years I’ve gone from doctor to doctor and have spent all my money growing sicker and sicker. Alternative medicine is giving me answers and hope. I cannot begin to say how disappointed I am in the medical community. Of course, we cannot put them all in this category. They are some good physicians…they all need MORE TRAINING but are too proud to admit it! Change is in the air and we the people must ALL join in this together to get the word out about the “truth”.
As an ICU RN of 28 years, and a practicing RN of 38 years I have no love for the AMA, who in the past has lobbied hard and long against a Medicare for all health system in this country. MDs are smart and highly educated and many think they hold all the answers in their fragmented approach to health. Health is a whole body experience that includes every aspect of a persons’ mental, and emotional, as well as physical health. These self-centered, egotistical MDs do harm to their patients in their disrespect for long proven alternative health therapies. And they continue to contribute and control the paradigm of over priced, pharmaceutical
driven…..a pill fixes everything…..fragmented approach to health. This paradigm has left us with twice as expensive medical care, as well as a much lower (and diminishing) life expectancy than almost all of the countries that provide their citizens a nationally paid for healthcare plan. I thank you for educating the public on health issues you will not hear about from the AMA and increasing public knowledge concerning alternative treatment for those real issues denied by the AMA such as “leaky gut” to name only one.
Kathryn Donahue, RN
This is a great column. I am glad to know that this is going on. It seems to be more and more difficult to find physicians who will offer natural treatment alternatives and this, of course, will not help. I am so grateful for Dr. Edelberg and the others such as the late Jean Walker who see the value in holistic alternatives that do so much good and no harm. I have found that there is almost always a natural way to resolve any health issue.
Thanks, Dr. E. for clarifying the young dude’s wayward mission & motives at AMA. Obviously, the big food industries & pharms are feeling the pinch in their strides to the bank. I’m going to share your newsletter on Facebook and get social media to get the word out on the dubious totalitarian think tank at AMA.
These weekly posts by Dr. E should be read internationally. Not only are they extremely insightful, but also they are incredibly well written.
I am a little confused because I see ads popping up from Dr. Oz about skin products sworn to get rid of wrinkles very frequently. Hence, the confusion. Does this not contribute to the skepticism?
As a matter of fact, I thought you might have been supportive of this one AMA resolution because of those ads. Please help me understand this part. Faithful reader.
Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. Exodus 23:1
This is too important and I urge you to publish this in the N Y Times. We need to expose this fox in the hen house.
Who can we trust? According to The Lancet, one of the world’s leading independent medical journal’s, “Editor In Chief Of World’s Best Known Medical Journal: Half Of All The Literature Is False”
Very interesting (and scary). Thanks for posting this.